Bypass is a joint venture between Third Films and Swedish company FilmiVast with funding from the British Film Institute and Film Agency Wales; from writer/director Duane Hopkins and starring up-and-coming young actor George MacKay (Pride, Sunshine on Leith, Peter Pan) as Tim.
The film opens by focusing on Tim’s father; who reluctantly accepts a criminal job in order to help pay off his debts and provide for his family . This finishes with a gripping chase sequence, shot hand-held; which kicks off the film and leads to the father’s arrest.
Left to look after his younger sister Helen, Tim gets in to the same wrong crowd as his father and makes money by fencing stolen goods and other criminal activities. He also battles with illness and bad debt; there is some light for him however in the form of girlfriend Lilly. MacKay’s character is a poignant and brilliantly portrayed study of a child trying to escape the criminal world he was born into and the things he feels he must do in order support himself and his family despite his own morality.
Shot in a dark art-house style with an engulfing and evolving orchestral score (Danny Bensi/Saunder Jurrians); I found the cinematography to be consistently strong and evoking throughout. Darkness and light are used equally to great effect; with the main story broken up by a series of reflective scored sequences. This slice of gritty realism is an example of British independent cinema at it’s best.
Bypass made it’s UK debut at the London Film Festival on October 12th 2014.
Originally reviewed for Battle Royale with Cheese